An innovative art therapy program for cancer patients

Karen Deane, Margaret Fitch, Marianne Carman


Art therapy is a healing art intended to integrate physical, emotional, and spiritual care by facilitating creative ways for patients to respond to their cancer experience. A new art therapy program was designed to provide cancer patients with opportunities to learn about the McMichael Canadian Art Collection and the explore personal feelings about their cancer experience through combined gallery and studio components. The role of the facilitator was to assist in the interpretation of a participant's drawing in order to reveal meaning in the art.

This paper presents the patients' perspectives about the new art therapy program. Content analysis of participant feedback provided information about the structure, process, and outcomes of the program. Evaluation of the art therapy/museum education program demonstrated many benefits for cancer patients including support, psychological strength, and new insights about their cancer experience.

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